A little extra here, a little extra there, art and light, and sun or shade, it is the details in you place in the garden that make the difference.

Use a detail item as a focal point in the yard.

Lighting should be an element in the garden, something that washes the walls, twinkles in the trees, or marks a path on the way to or from.

Think art, sculpture, painting or stone. All can be a value to any garden.

A structure for shade, an umbrella or trellis both protect and cast shadow and light.

A weekend trip to a garage sale or two can find an exciting piece to add to the garden, a piece of repurposed junk as a piece of art, or a sword in the stone. The complexity of a stone well placed is an art of its own. The dragon or cow, family or friends  (no pun intended) ,we all have a role in this show called home.



Regardless of the drought they can add a touch of coolness
to a dry landscape, a bit of music from their sound, a focal
point or something found.

• Placement is key with water features to get the best result

• Sound. A little or a lot? this will determine the direction
   you go.

• Tie the sound of running water to a pool where possible

• Dry is just as good as wet when looking for a focal point.

• Control the splash with an all dry gravel base.

There is something soothing about a well tuned fountain, be it a spiritual enhancement, dancing waters that entertain,a place to play or get cool, or an elaborate faucet for the dog. Almost anything can be turned into a fountain, take your time and have fun searching for that perfect piece.



Designing a pool is about working with the space, aligning the sun at just the right spot,views to and from the water, and when whimsy calls add a dragon !

• When adding a pool understand the overall design of the yard.

• Adding a beach mine all face the sun from 11am to 2 perfect for laying in the sun.

• Have hardscape areas designed for furniture, and for that to face the right direction.

• Consider a covered pool to minimize water evaporation.

The pools were, designed, installed, and the gardens installed
and, maintained by The Jonathan Company. Control of the
total project allows the best result. Each trade works to a
common goal lead by design. New concerns about water
conservation question pools, this is overstated as there are
many options for an overall efficient home.




A front gate, a side gate, an entry to home, these fine fences bring guests to our home. Sometimes this is the first and last impression.

• Be different with your design, add a curve, bend or, step.

• Work within your theme, this will help tie the project    together.

• Sometimes fences are best left unseen, be creative with your pickets and posts. They work best when they blend in.

• Style, size, and security, know your goals before you start.

Fences and gates play a very important role in the garden, In fact many. At times they need to be all things, security is always on our mind and fences are front and center. You should not have to feel as if your lit bright like an airport runway, or live in a prison, take a moment to think it through. Lighting seals the design goal here.



Hard elements of the garden tie it to the home, where you sit and what you see and how they interact with the
garden. Its part of the first impression.

• Pick a theme for your project so it sets a design goal.

• Don’t fight the style of what you have work with it or
   create the change to make it what you wish.

• Hardscape does not grow so plan your budget wise.

• When installing an outdoor kitchen try not to have    

   your back turned to your guests.

• Your entry, this plays a role in the value of your home
That first interaction with a client on a new project sets the tone, design guidelines and, budget of a job. Managed expectations on both sides will drive the end result.
Designing hardscape must take the landscape into
consideration, size and shape of planting areas will directly affect just where you plant that tree to screen an ugly view.



​A mix of colors, textures, smells and touch, all things combined create the flavor of a garden.
It is just a little taste of home.

Design your palette by height, color and texture.

When designing a garden go to a nursery first and see what textures colors and material attract your attention.

Let them grow. Give plants the chance to grow together to create a desired effect.

Plants should not become a chore to ignore, rather something to let grow. Maintenance is key in your choice.

While at UCLA studying Landscape Architecture a professor asked us to create a plan of a civic project showing all of the hard elements. For the plant material he asked for, height, color, width, tree, shrub, basically keeping it as generic as possible. Don’t complicate your plan with details early just set these plant goals then shop. It will focus your choices.